Carl Little has written more than 25 books about art and artists, and one of his best, for sure, is Philip Barter Forever Maine.
Barter was inspired by the art of Marsden Hartley. Carl traces Barter’s life from a formative trip to California in the 1960s to Down East Maine where Carter and his wife spent their life immersed in art and living in a really funky home and studio built of driftwood and barn boards. They had seven children.
The book includes a great selection of Barter’s art, which is stunningly beautiful. Of course, I like the Mount Katahdin and the western mountains and lakes paintings the best, but there are a lot of beautiful paintings of coastal scenes as well. He also painted in Spain, Newfoundland, Greenland, and the American southwest. To call his paintings bold would be an understatement.
I love to this statement from Barter: “The narratives I paint are historical documents of the characters of Maine and the places they frequent, a roguishly, independent people whom I seek out, and try to be with, and who make this place I know the one-of-a-kind place it is – forever Maine.” I certainly agree with that.
On the back cover of the book is another great statement from Barter: “Each painting has its reality, its own life, laws, and it must be true to itself alone. Reality, like time, is multidirectional, and sometimes you have to paint between the trees. Remember that the first artists, poets, and storytellers brought hope and comfort to the people.” Barter certainly does that with his art.
I have to say, I also enjoyed the three books Carl did with his brother David, who is a wonderful artist who lives in Portland – featuring art of Katahdin, Acadia, and Portland. In addition to his prolific book writing, Carl is a Director of Communications and Marketing at the Maine Community Foundation.